Vietnamese foods are very good, distinct and unforgettable. The recipe relies on a balance of salty, sweet, sour and hot flavours, achieved through use of nuoc mam (fish sauce), a fermented fish sauce, cane sugar, the juice of kalamansi citrus fruit or tamarind and chilli peppers. Dishes use plenty of fresh herbs but tend not to be overly spicy, as chilli sauces are served separately. From Vietnamvisits, we’ve picked Top Vietnamese foods everyone should try.
A Hanoi specialty, you’ll find “bun cha” (grilled pork and noodles) at food stalls and street kitchens across the city. Essentially a small hamburger, the pork patties are barbecued on an open charcoal brazier and served on a bed of cold rice noodles with assorted foliage and a slightly sweetish sauce.
You must try this food as US President Barack Obama had bun cha with television host and chef Anthony Bourdain at Bun Cha Huong Lien (Ha Noi) when they visiting Vietnam 🙂
Pho [ pronounced fuh] is the Vietnamese national dish; an aromatic, nutritious and delicious rice noodle soup served with a side plate of fresh herbs to add as you please. The basic bowl of pho consists of a light beef or chicken broth flavoured with ginger and coriander, to which are added broad, flat rice noodles, spring onions and slivers of chicken, pork or beef. The addition of these herbs and table condiments is an essential part of eating phở and adds another dimension to the dish – our chilli paste for a kick, fish sauce for extra saltiness, garlic vinegar for sourness. Don’t hold back.
Vietnam’s most famous dish: translucent spring rolls packed with greens, coriander and various combinations of minced pork, shrimp or crab. In some places they’re served with a bowl of lettuce and/or mint. A southern variation has barbecued strips of pork wrapped up with green banana and star fruit, and then dunked in a rich peanut sauce – every bit as tasty as it sounds.
This baguette sandwich filled with greens and a choice of fillings, including paté and freshly made omelette, is so good it’s been imitated around the world.
These enormous, cheap and filling Vietnamese pancakes translate (banh xeo means “sizzling pancake”) pancake contain shrimp, pork, bean sprouts and egg, which is then fried, wrapped in rice paper with greens and dunked in a spicy sauce before eaten.
Central Vietnam does it best. Among Hoi An’s tasty specialities is cao lau, a mouthwatering bowlful of thick rice-flour noodles, bean sprouts and pork-rind croutons in a light soup flavoured with mint and star anise, topped with thin slices of pork and served with grilled rice-flour crackers or sprinkled with crispy rice paper.
Seafood dishes are among the standouts of Vietnamese cuisine. Cha ca, reportedly devised in Hanoi, is perhaps the best known. It sees white fish sautéed in butter with dill and spring onions, then served with rice noodles and a scatering of peanuts.
This unheralded and affordable noodle dish is a Hanoi specialty. Ingredients vary by establishment, but expect to see a simple bowl of meat noodles enlivened by additions like flavoursome oils, fresh sprigs of leaves, shrimp, peanuts, mint and quail eggs.
Nom hua chuoi
Vegetarians rejoice. Nom hua chuoi, or banana-flower salad, is a great meat-free option. Lime and chili are the key flavors and add a refreshing punch to the shredded veg.
Com tam, “broken rice”, is a street-stand favourite. Recipes vary, but you’ll often find it served with barbecued pork or beef and a fried egg.